Federer routs Tsonga to reach Australian Open final

The Sports Network
1/29/2010 3:46:05 PM
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Melbourne, Australia (Sports Network) - Roger Federer took another step toward his 16th career Grand Slam title with a straight-set victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the Australian Open semifinals.

The top-seeded Federer rolled to a 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 rout of the 10th-seeded Frenchman and will face Scotland's Andy Murray in Sunday's final with an opportunity to collect his fourth Aussie Open crown. Murray advanced Thursday with a semifinal victory over Croatia's Marin Cilic.

It was virtually no contest on Friday, as Federer needed a mere 88 minutes to dispose of Tsonga, who was trying to reach the Australian Open final for the second time in three years. Tsonga was the 2008 runner-up to Novak Djokovic and gained a measure of revenge for that loss on Wednesday with a victory over the Serbian star in the quarterfinals.

On Friday he had virtually no chance, as Federer was in dominant form. The Swiss superstar committed just 13 unforced errors, converted 5-of-10 break- point chances and didn't face a break point against his own serve.

"I just think it's easier with the top players if you get them in the first set," said Federer after the match. "It's nice going through like this."

Federer's first break of serve came in the fourth game of the first set for a 3-1 advantage and another break in the eighth game finished off the set in just 30 minutes.

The second set featured just one break of serve, which gave Federer a 4-2 edge, and he managed to serve it out. The third was also no contest, as two breaks of serve finished off the weary Frenchman, who had played five sets in each of his previous two matches.

"I was a bit more tired after the first set," stated Tsonga. "It was tough to play against him today. He was really good, and that's it."

Federer will play in his 22nd career Grand Slam final and second straight in Melbourne. He lost to Rafael Nadal in a five-set thriller last year and last won the Aussie Open crown in 2007. His first two wins in the year's first Grand Slam came in 2004 and 2006. Another title Sunday would tie Andre Agassi's Open-era record of four Australian Open championships.

Murray, trying to give Britain its first Grand Slam champion since Fred Perry in 1936, will play in his second major final. His first came in 2008, a 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 setback to Federer in the U.S. Open title match.

Despite that loss, Murray owns a 6-4 lifetime mark against Federer. The two split four meetings in 2009 -- Murray winning semifinals at Doha and Indian Wells before Federer captured the last two matchups with a semifinal win in Cincinnati and a round-robin triumph at the World Tour Finals. The only matchup between the two in a Grand Slam was in the Flushing Meadows final.

"I don't feel like the pressure's really on me having to do it again, because I did it before," Federer said about who has more pressure to win Sunday. "I think he really needs it more than I do, you know. So I think the pressure's big on him."

Federer, who will be one of the finalists for the 18th time in the last 19 Grand Slam events, is gunning for his 62nd career ATP-level singles crown, while Murray will try for his 15th.


Roger Federer (Photo: PAUL CROCK/AFP/Getty Images)


(Photo: PAUL CROCK/AFP/Getty Images)
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